Weather slows Höegh Osaka salvage efforts

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Höegh Osaka was deliberately grounded on Bramble Bank in the Solent to avoid a likely capsize

JANUARY 12, 2015 —  Weather continues to hamper the salvage of the car carrier Höegh Osaka.

The vessel remains held in position near Southampton at anchor on the Alpha Anchorage, between East Cowes on the Isle of Wight and Lee-on-the-Solent on the U.K. mainland.

Saturday, between 4.00 AM and 5.00 AM, the vessel dragged anchor for about 100 m. At the time, the Queen Mary 2 was entering port and reported 72 mph winds. Weather conditions continued poor and in the afternoon one of the two tugs already in place moved from her position and collided with the car carrier. There were no injuries to personnel, but the tug received some damage and it was replaced by another tug. No pollution occurred during this incident.

The U.K. Marine & Coastguard Agency reports that yesterday, the salvors pumped water for 1-2 hours; there was no discharge of oil. They checked the ballast system and intend rigging another pump in the lower hold to pump into the ship’s tanks as well as overboard.

“However,” says the MCGA, “all salvage activity is highly dependent on the weather, which is forecast to be very poor this week, peaking at 1800 on Wednesday to 0600 Thursday.

“The port is considering taking the pilot off the scene because the worsening weather will make it harder to relieve them at the end of shift, subject to discussion with the salvors. Vessel Traffic System contact will be maintained and, if necessary, a pilot could be returned to the scene.

“Although it is still some way off, plans for the vessel’s return to dock continue, to ensure the discharge of cargo is done safely and access policed/restricted as appropriate.”

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